As a leader you will make mistakes, you will either say or do something that you regret as a leader, especially when it comes to the way you treat your associates. Everyone makes mistakes, but as a leader, the mistakes you make impact not only yourself but everyone one else around you.
I know in my career, I've made many mistakes. I've mistreated someone that I supervise by either not showing them respect, or through my impatience I've shared my frustration in ways I'm not proud of. If you'll look back at your career you'll see times when you've most likely done this as well. If you're having trouble remembering these times... just think back to the conflicts and issues that raised from your behavior and maybe that will jog your memory. When you show disrespect to those you supervise... it's easy to tell this is happening because those you supervise shut down around you. They avoid you, they won't volunteer any feedback because they fear you, or they fear what you will say. So they feel it's better to keep quiet. There's nothing worse than ignoring the disgruntled associate. There is never a good outcome if not addressed. Problems never just go away, they get resolved through the efforts of both hurt parties but the responsibility to resolve this is on the leader. The leader always has the authority and the power over the associate, so the resolution must always come from the leader if you want to have any hope of restoring this relationship between the two.
So how do you begin, how do you start the process of restoring this relationship? The answer is simple, but not always easy to do. So what is it?... You apologize for what you've done! You look them in the eye and with all sincerity of heart, you say... "I'm sorry." You allow yourself to be put in their shoes for a moment and you realize how you behaved and that it was wrong and you apologize and make a commitment to change. Why does this work, why is it important as the leader to say I'm sorry? Because the associate has no control over you, and their world is upside down until you say, I"m sorry and I see what I've done. Once you say that, then the associate feels safe around you again. They don't fear you any longer and they realize that they have a chance at a new beginning with you as their leader. It's times like this that you have the ability as the leader to develop a more meaningful and stronger relationship than you ever had before. You will be amazed at how these times of reconciliation can shape you and bond you with your folks.
I began this message with these words, "Everyone makes mistakes." Knowing this and acknowledging our mistakes is the key to being respected as a leader among your people. Those you supervise understand and know you are just human, so quit acting like you're not! Apologize when you mess up and then change your behavior so they know you mean it. Take a bad situation and turn it into something that can actually help your career. Do not miss this opportunity. Many do and they struggle throughout their career.